10 Weird Liquor Laws

Drink Lists
Share Tweet Submit Pin

There are some pretty strange beer and liquor laws that float around the internet. Some may be legit, and some simply cannot be legit. At least, I hope not. My favorite booze laws generally involve animals (no drinking with fish in Ohio or moose in Alaska) because it generally means that someone actually tried feeding a fish some booze. I read once that it’s illegal to chug beer in Texas if you’re standing up. Something tells me that one’s not true (at least I hope it’s not true), but here’s a few weird legal conundrums involving alcohol around the U.S. that appear to be real.

10. Michigan

Michigan ensures that everyone gets their full share of beer. Drinking establishments can’t advertise “pints” of beer unless they’re serving all 16 ounces. Beer drinkers can file a complaint if they discover they’re being shorted. If being the key word there.

9. Indiana

No procrastinating for parties in Indiana. If you need cold beer, you better plan for it. Grocery stores and gas stations aren’t allowed to sell cold brew, so no last-minute beer run. Nothing like some grilled meat and nice, lukewarm beer, I guess?

8. Iowa

“Just put it on my tab.” Not in Iowa, my friend. Tabs and credit vouchers are completely illegal in Iowa. It’s a completely understandable law once you’ve seen something like Goodfellas though.

7. Alaska

As long as minors aren’t at a bar or restaurant serving alcohol, they can legally drink as long as their “parents, legal guardians or spouse” gave them the booze. This all makes sense since Alaska is one of the proverbial younger siblings of the other states.

6. Florida

Brewers beware: Florida doesn’t allow craft breweries that sell more than 2,000 kegs a year to offer growlers of their product. The 64-ounce container is an industry norm in most states. Not cool, Florida…not cool.

5. Pennsylvania

The Keystone State is notorious for having backwards liquor laws. There are state-run liquor stores (state stores), and privately owned beer stores (distributors). So you have to go to two different stores to get your Jack Daniels and Miller Lite. And when you go to the beer distributor you can only buy cases (30 packs, 24 packs). From there you can go to a bar, bottle shop or, more recently, a grocery store with a special license to get smaller quantities. But you can’t buy more than 192 ounces at a bar or bottle shop. Being a native Pennsylvanian, I know all too well that we really have to work for our alcohol.

4. South Carolina

Voting is serious business in South Carolina: establishments aren’t allowed to sell “alcoholic liquors” during statewide elections. You wouldn’t want to vote for the wrong person (maybe that explains what really happened in Florida in 2004).

3. Colorado

While some states might encourage you to ride your trusty steed home after a night of debauchery (Montana, I’m looking at you), Colorado will throw you in the slammer, same as if you drove your car home after drinking. But you have to be sober enough to ride a horse, if you’re able to saddle it up and get on top of it though, right? Sometimes it’s difficult enough getting on and off a bar stool.

2. Massachusetts

Massachusetts doesn’t allow Happy Hours …just regular hours.

1. Utah

In what might be the most interesting law, bartenders in Utah can’t pour your beer or mix your cocktail in front of you. They have to keep the process out of the customer’s sight, which involves barriers that create a “Zion Curtain.” The law is still around because of Utah’s high Mormon population and it only applies to establishments with a restaurant license, but it certainly makes patrons put a lot of faith in their bartender.